Politics and poetics in translation : accounting for a Chinese version of 'Yes Prime Minister'

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Using largely acceptability-oriented strategies, the author of this article wished his Chinese translation of ‘Yes Prime Minister’ to be a well-formed literary text in the target system and a satire on Chinese politics by way of allegory. It posed a challenge to the dominant translation poetics that favours adequacy, and also to the dominant ideology that upholds loyalty to those in power. After a description of the socio-cultural background – including the political situation, the system of literary patronage and the translation tradition, the skopos and constraints of translating, and translation strategies – this paper demonstrates that in the Chinese context an acceptability-oriented translation can be a non-transparent text that makes the translator visible, reforming rather than being conservative with regard to certain traditional values in the target culture, and rebelling against the majority culture from which the text is appropriated.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)249-272
Number of pages24
JournalThe Translator: Studies in Intercultural Communication
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1998

Bibliographical note

Winner of “Stephen C. Soong Translation Studies Memorial Award 1999” (宋淇翻譯研究論文紀念獎1999). Reprinted in Eva Hung (ed.), Among the Best: Stephen C. Soong Chinese Translation Studies Awards 1999-2004 (Vol. II). Hong Kong: Chinese University Press, 2005. pp. 53-81. The Translator is one of the top international journals in translation studies. Manchester: St. Jerome.


Dive into the research topics of 'Politics and poetics in translation : accounting for a Chinese version of 'Yes Prime Minister''. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this